Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani stood out as Manchester United registered a 2-0 win over Everton to reach the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
Manchester United left it late to secure a 2-0 win over Everton at the Goodison Park on Wednesday and advance through to the semi-finals of this season’s Carabao Cup.
The Red Devils always looked the more dangerous right from the beginning as they created a host of chances against the in-form Everton. While they did lack the end product, the opener seemed inevitable due to their dominance on the proceedings, not only in the attacking department but also in midfield, where Paul Pogba managed to put out an influential display.
Unfortunately, neither side could manage to find the breakthrough in the first half, but it was more of the same story after the restart. But, a couple of smart substitutions by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer midway through the second half added more edge to the Manchester United attack. And they eventually broke the deadlock in the 86th minute, thanks to an excellent effort by Edinson Cavani.
The goal forced the Toffees to push forward in search of the equaliser, thus leaving acres of space available at the back. It paved the way for Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to combine, with the latter sealing Manchester United’s win with a calm finish deep in injury time. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
Dean Henderson: 7/10
Despite Everton’s efforts in pushing for an equaliser, they never really managed to properly test Dean Henderson. He was most notably called into action once when Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free-kick attempt was on target. The Manchester United goalkeeper does deserve credit as well for remaining strong in between the sticks.
Axel Tuanzebe: 7.5/10
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to deploy Axel Tuanzebe at right-back was not surprising given Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s recent fitness issues. The youngster did not disappoint either in this new role as he remained competent in dealing with the threat of Richarlison and later Bernard on his flank.
Axel Tuanzebe’s game by numbers vs. Everton:
88% pass accuracy
Performed well despite not being in his preferred position. 👍 pic.twitter.com/qpfdZZNOdO
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 23, 2020
Eric Bailly: 7.5/10
It was a welcome return to the starting eleven for Eric Bailly, who replaced Victor Lindelof at the heart of the Manchester United defence. The Ivorian established himself as a solid defensive outlet for Manchester United, rarely allowing any opportunities for the in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The performance should, in fact, give the defender some much-needed confidence.
Harry Maguire: 7.5/10
Harry Maguire may not have been as fluid as Bailly defensively, but the Englishman deserves praise for marshalling the Manchester United backline. His imposing frame at the back offered the Red Devils the upper hand in dealing with Calvert-Lewin. The ex-Leicester City man also threaded an excellent laser pass that initiated the attack for the Edinson Cavani opener.
Alex Telles: 6/10
Starting ahead of Luke Shaw, Alex Telles failed to impose himself on the left flank as much as he would have liked. He even made one defensive error that led to an Everton attack and was later subbed off midway through the second half.
Paul Pogba: 8/10
Paul Pogba was crucial in Manchester United’s dominance in this game, as the Frenchman created a host of turnovers in midfield. His determination to win back possession and move the ball forward propelled most of United attacks. In addition, the midfielder played a key role in acting as the ball-carrier, thus making good on his return to the starting eleven.
Paul Pogba’s game by numbers vs. Everton:
82% pass accuracy
4 accurate long passes
3 chances created
2 tackles won
2 fouls won
A big performance. 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/oz1Kn9Rbet
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 23, 2020
Nemanja Matic: 7.5/10
While Pogba offered the flair and dynamism in the number eight role, Nemanja Matic was quite a reliable outlet in the holding midfield position. He screened the backline well, using his ability to read the game to make a few interceptions while also winning the ball that led to the counter-attack for the late Martial goal.
Mason Greenwood: 7/10
Mason Greenwood offered some useful dynamism going forward early on in the game. The youngster did well to create chances as well and was unlucky not to score as one of his efforts hit the post. There was, however, a lack of end product in most of his ventures in the attacking third.
Bruno Fernandes: 7.5/10
It was surprising to see Bruno Fernandes starting in the midweek cup game, but his presence quite predictably offered Manchester United the ideal boost they needed in the final third. As one would expect, the Portuguese international was a vital cog in the United setup, providing the skill and technique, which was combined with a willingness to find the back of the net. The playmaker was unlucky as one of his attempts on goal hit the crossbar.
Donny van de Beek: 6/10
This game served as an excellent opportunity for Donny van de Beek to make an impression in the Manchester United first-team. But to his misfortune, the Dutchman was deployed out of position, in a wide left midfield role by Solskjaer. As such, the midfielder could never really impose his presence on the game and was subbed off in the second half.
Edinson Cavani: 8/10
Edinson Cavani enjoyed an excellent game against Everton. The veteran striker was a livewire throughout the match, causing a host of problems for the opposition defence with his movements and positional sense. His effort on goal from just outside the penalty area led to the late opener as well and the ex-PSG star was involved in the game even after the goal, providing a threat on the counter.
— Sylvester Augustine (@amworldbest) December 23, 2020
Anthony Martial: 8/10
Martial replaced van de Beek midway through the second half to offer more dynamism in the Manchester United attack. The Frenchman did just that and was even involved in the opener as he distributed the ball to Cavani in a slightly wide position. He then capped off his cameo with a late goal from a counter-attack.
Marcus Rashford: 7/10
Marcus Rashford was influential during the final phase of the game. His pace and energy forced the Everton defenders to operate a little deeper, though it was not enough to stop the Englishman from assisting Martial for the second goal.
Luke Shaw: N/A
Replaced Telles in the 84th minute, providing freshness to the table for the Manchester United backline. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.